DivaCup: A Review.
So I feel like I can’t really do up a legitimate review of the DivaCup because I have only used it for 4 days, and not even for 4 full days, but I am just that impressed with it that I can’t stop myself.
*photo borrowed from jess.anne.o*
I’m maybe jumping the gun a little bit, but like I said, I just wanted to share the word as soon as possible. I hope it sticks, because so far so good.
First things first, a little history.
I’ve wanted to try a menstrual cup for a few years, but just put it off and put it off. Using cloth diapers has really fuelled forward my desire to live greener, simpler, and more financially efficient as well. After talking to a few people about using a menstrual cup, I decided that I had to make the switch and that was that. I actually tried cloth pads while I was waiting for my cup to be shipped and absolutely loved them. They’re so soft and comfy, and well, I guess that’s another review for another day. (NOTE: You can often find the cup in stores, however I found a really great deal online and well, as much as I love to support local, I had to support my bank account in this instance.)
Basically, the DivaCup is made of top-quality silicone, and is an eco-friendly alternative to pads and tampons. It is reusable, sanitary, healthier than the disposable products on the market, and… believe it or not, comfortable. The reason I say believe it or not is because I am sure there is at least one person reading this that is squeamish about the cup, or at least cannot understand how such a contraption can be nice to insert and leave there for 10+ hours. Hear me out, my friends.
(Before I go any further, I really encourage you all to check out the DivaCup website, linked above. And also, I appreciate their section of the website which speaks to worldwide menstrual health, and the issues that using a menstrual cup can have when there are not sanitary conditions, etc.)
Ok, so, for starters: there are different types of menstrual cups, however the DivaCup is the only cup approved by Health Canada for sale in Canada. The different types are made of different materials. There are also two sizes of the DivaCup, 1 and 2. Size 1 is for women who are under the age of 30 who have never had a baby vaginally or by c-section. Size 2 is for women who are over 30 and/or have had a baby vaginally or by c-section. However, I have known women who have used size 1 and been over 30, and women who have used size 2 and been under 30, that sort of thing. Size 2 is a tad bigger so it is probably best to do some research, check out both cups, and make your decision from there. I think if size is questionable, going a bit bigger might be better in terms of leaks, but I am no expert.
There are different folds you can do when you insert the cup. And if I haven’t been clear, you insert the cup into your vagina, but not that high up, and not in the same manner that you would a tampon. That part confused me the first time, and is one of the reasons why it was quite the err, production (?) the first time I ever attempted to use it. Also, it really helps if you can relax your muscles. All of them. It makes a big difference if you are tensing up, and this can happen without you even being aware of it. Here’s a diagram (also from jess.anne.o) that shows two folds. I prefer the Push Down fold myself.
Oh, and two really awesome things about using a cup are 1) you can leave it in for 12 hours! I have a friend who, the majority of the time (aside from maybe 1 day) empties the cup in the morning when she gets up, and then once again before bed. That’s peanuts! However, this will of course vary from each day of your cycle to each individual woman, but the average is 12 hours. The cup can hold 1/2 an ounce of liquid, and the average cycle is about 1 – 1.4 ounces in total, so there you go. Because it is a hygienic product, it is recommended to empty it at least every 10-12 hours I do believe. I had mine in for 8, 12, 11, and 10 hours respectively and things were totally fine. The fourth day I noticed that something seemed weird in terms of leakage (VERY VERY minor, like… VERY minor) but it felt comfortable, so I’m not sure what went on there. Sometimes if the little holes at the top of the cup (there’s 4 tiny suction holes) aren’t completely clear of liquid or anything, they can result in a weird fit. That’s something to double-check, too.
So while the first day of using the cup was a bit… hectic, the following days were easy-peasy. I notice that for about 5-10 minutes after I inserted the cup, I’d have to move around and do weird aerobic moves in my bathroom so that the cup could shift into place properly. I’ve heard this is normal and so I am okay with that, it just threw me off for a bit. And doing funny dance moves really is not a problem in my books, so that’s cool with me.
I am kind of a nerd (some might use the adjective f’ing disgusting interchangeably there) and was pretty anxious to see what the cup contained at the end of the day when I went to empty it. And really? It’s pretty neat to see how my cycle varies from day to day, and really, what is going on in my body. I’m constantly on a journey to become more in tune, more connected with myself (it only makes sense, right? it’s me, for gosh sakes!) and so, this helps. It’s also friggin’ amazing for keeping track of my cycle (which I’m doing anyway via Toni Weschler’s Fertility Awareness Method) and also for future reference in terms of what happens with my body during my menstrual cycle. You definitely have to be okay with bodily fluids and sort of, exploring, in order to get used to and like/appreciate the cup, I just want to put that out there.
In terms of cleaning, basically you are supposed to wash the cup out at least twice a day with water and a mild soap. I just use baby soap, and wash it after I empty it. It comes with a little draw-string storage bag that you can store it in easily, so that’s handy too. It is also advised to boil the cup for sterilization purposes at the end of each cycle.
The website states that the cup is good for 1 year, and they state this recommendation because it is used for hygienic purposes, however, most people I know have had their cup for several years and it’s just fine. The cup runs at about $40, so if you do the math, you know you’re saving big bucks, and who doesn’t like to save money? There’s so many perks to the cup and I love that I have already experienced them and it’s only been 4 days. There’s still some kinks I have to work out, like being quicker at insertion, and what not, but it’s coming and it’ll continue to. Even in terms of emptying it in public, since you only have to likely empty it 1-2 times a day, you may not even run into that issue. And if you do, they say that it’s okay to just wipe the cup out with a tissue, insert again, and clean with water and soap at the next convenient time.
Basically, so far I love the cup and am so happy with my purchase. I’m doing better for my body, better for mother Earth, and better for our bank account. Three top notch things that, what can I say, I love to do good for. I hope that this little love affair continues to grow, and that I don’t have to come back here and be all, err, remember what I said about the cup and how much I loved it, um, yeah… about that…
I will keep you posted. That is, if you want to keep reading about my insanely awesome connection with a friggin’ menstrual cup. Oh, I’m just so weird. Really guys, it’s not that weird at all. How come Always and Kotex and Playtex and all the big guys can go on TV and talk about the menstrual cycle (and even use that stupid silly blue dye!) but I can’t cuddle up in the privacy of my little corner on the Internet and blather on? I mean, no one said I can’t, but I’m sure some of y’all wonder.
Any questions about the cup? Any other tips/advice for me or other new cup users, or others thinking of making the switch?